Ravinia Festival, in Highland Park, packed a diverse crowd of concertgoers on the evening of July 22 for the Rage & Rapture Tour.
Actress/singer Sky Ferreira opened for the two major acts on other stops of the tour, but in Illinois, attendees had members of the punk band X: John Doe and Exene Cervenka.
The duo had a short set and the night quickly moved to rockers Garbage. Singer Shirley Manson entered the place full of confidence. The stage had laser light and smoke but seemed too spacious for her as she paced to each end throughout the set. Sound problems clearly bothered her during the first few tracks as she made hand signals to the soundboard for assistance.
She mentioned that "Cherry Lips ( Go Baby Go )" is for the LGBT community. ( The real fans know it was released as a tribute to a transgender person. ) With each song, Manson relaxed and opened up with charming stories. She described Chicago as the band's home and reminisced about the band inviting her to join them after seeing her group Angelfish at Metro.
She spoke of "Cup of Coffee" as a song about her catching a venereal disease from her ex. After that confession she seemed in good spirits.
One radio-friendly song after another hit the crowd, from "The World Is Not Enough" to "Stupid Girl," closing out the act's section with "Vow."
The iconic band Blondie followed, with singer Debbie Harry strutting in wearing a bee mask, highlighting the new album Pollinator, and a cape with the words "Stop Fucking the Planet" on the back. She removed the mask to show her trademark shades. The future is indeed bright as "Long Time," written by Blood Orange, was a highlight of the new tunes.
The 72-year-old icon performed several cover songs, such as "Rainy Day Women," by Bob Dylan; and "Fragments," by An Unkindness. The classics were all there, though, such as "Call Me" and "Rapture."
Young guitarist Tommy Kessler stood out with a solo during "Atomic" and Harry introduced the rest of the band that has been with her for so many years.
Keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen wore a "Future Is Female" T-shirt, which fit well because this night was all about female singers and empowerment.
An encore with "The Tide Is High" and "Dreaming" ended a night packed with hits from music acts that show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Visit Ravinia.org for more upcoming concerts and events.
Pictures and text by Jerry Nunn